U.S. Army celebrated 242nd birthday in Jersey

Col. Martin Klein, deputy commander, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, speaks at the Army 242nd birthday celebration at the Fort Dix museum here, June 14, 2017. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Martyn)

Personnel at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst came together to celebrate the U.S. Army’s 242nd birthday there, June 14, 2017 in traditional fashion beginning with a 5K run, just after dawn, was preceded by brief introductions from base leaders

The official ceremony included guest speaker Patrick Murphy, former Under Secretary of the Army and the cutting of a birthday cake with a cavalry sword.

“Before you stands the American flag,” said Col. Martin Klein, deputy commander. “Alongside that great symbol of our nation stands the colors of our United States Army, who for now 242 years has stood watch over this nation; our values.”

The Fort Dix museum, a time capsule for the Army’s service on Dix, served as the venue for the formal celebration.

Murphy, a former congressman and Under Secretary of the Army spoke about the role the Army continues to play in modern conflicts.

“We ask less than 1% of America to serve,” said Murphy. “Right now, we’re in the longest wars in American history. This is a defining moment in our nation’s history.”

It wouldn’t be a birthday party without a cake; following the ceremony, the birthday cake was served. It is custom the Army birthday cake be cut with a cavalry sword by the both the youngest and oldest soldiers in attendance.

“When you are a soldier, you are a soldier for life,” said Murphy at the closing of the ceremony. “When you’re an American soldier, you are a leader of character for a lifetime of service.”

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